Mosor rock lizard (Dinarolacerta mosorensis)

GenusDinarolacerta (1)
SizeSnout-vent length: up to 7 cm (2)

The Mosor rock lizard is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The diurnal Mosor rock lizard (Dinarolacerta mosorensis) is extremely well adapted to its mountainous habitat, with its distinctly flattened head and body enabling it to squeeze into small crevices between rocks (2) (3).

The flattened scales on the underside of the Mosor rock lizard are orange-yellow, while the back is covered in dark spots, and the sides are much darker. The colour and pattern is similar in males and females, with the male’s spots and colouration being slightly more intense. The male and female are similar in size (2) (4).

The juvenile Mosor rock lizard is similar to the adult, but with a blue or greenish tail. Hatchlings typically have a bright blue-green tail (2) (4).

The Mosor rock lizard is endemic to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. There may be separate populations in Albania; however, further surveys are required (1) (3) (5) (6) (7).

The crevice-dwelling Mosor rock lizard inhabits the humid, open, rocky, karst areas of the Dinaric mountains. It is restricted to altitudes between 450 and 1,900 metres where there is vegetation cover and many shaded areas (1) (3) (4) (5).

This species’ habitat experiences a diverse range of climatic conditions, with long, cold winters, humid autumns and springs, and very hot, dry summers. Temperatures may drop as low as 3 degrees centigrade at night and rise to 25 degrees in the day. The habitat of the Mosor rock lizard is very moist due to high rainfall at most times of the year (2) (3) (5) (7).

The Mosor rock lizard is heliothermic, meaning it is only active in the warmest part of the day, when it will search for its prey in crevices between rocks. This species is insectivorous, feeding on a range of insect species (3).

The mating season for this species is between May and June. The Mosor rock lizard lays between four and eight eggs in July. The embryos are already partially developed, with the eggs hatching in August after a 26 day incubation period (1) (2) (3) (8).

Like most reptiles, the female Mosor rock lizard tends to mature quicker than the male. This species reaches sexual maturity at three years, and both the male and female live for around nine years (3).

The Mosor rock lizard was once collected for the pet trade, although this now occurs on a much smaller scale. Its Dinaric mountain habitat is under threat due to logging, although parts of it are protected (1).

The Mosor rock lizard is listed on Annex III of the Bern convention (9) and is protected by national legislation in some countries in its range. It is present in a number of protected areas, such as the national parks Durmitor and Lovecen in Montenegro (1) (6).

Find out more about reptile conservation:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2011)
  2. Arnold, E.N., Arribas, O. and Carranza, S. (2007) Systematics of the Palearctic and Oriental lizard tribe Lacertini (Squamata: Lacertidae: Lacertidae) with descriptions of eight new genera. Zootaxa, 1430: 1-86.
  3. Kolorov, N.T., Ljubisavljević, K., Polović, L., Džukić, G. and Kalezić, M. L. (2010) The body size, age structure and growth pattern of the endemic Balkan mosor rock lizard. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungricae, 56(1): 55-71.
  4. Ljubisavljević, K.L. and Ivanović, A. (2008) Sexual differences in size and shape of the mosor rock lizard [Dinarolacerta mosorensis (Kolombatovic, 1886)] (Squamata Lacertidae): a case study of the Lovcen Mountain population (Montenegro). Archives of Biological Sciences, 60(2): 279-288.
  5. Ljubisavljević, K., Arribas, O., Dðukić, G. and Carranza, S. (2007) Genetic and morphological differentiation of mosor rock lizards, Dinarolacerta mosorensis (Kolombatovic, 1886), with the description of new species from the Prokletije Mountain Massif (Montenegro) (Squamata: Lacertidae). Zootaxa1613: 1-22.
  6. Dragičević, P. (2009) Lonely Planet Montenegro. Lonely Planet, London.
  7. Gorman, G. (2008) Central and Eastern European Wildlife. Bradt Travel Guides, Connecticut.
  8. Ljubisavljević, K., Polović, L., Kolorov, N. T., Dzukić, G. and Kalezić, M. (2007) Female life-history characteristics of the mosor rock lizard, Dinarolacerta mosorensis (Kolombatovic, 1886) from Montenegro (Squamata: Lacertidae). Journal of Natural History, 41: 2979-2993.
  9. Council of Europe: Bern Convention (November, 2011)